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Assumption Charismatic Prayer Group celebrates 25 years of ministry

The  Assumption Parish Catholic Charismatic Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The following article, which first appeared in the parish’s bulletin, has been edited for length.

The leadership group, comprising Gloria ‘Peggy’ Birmingham, Carnetta Borrell, Len Stephen, Karl Uddenberg, and Edwin Blanc, wishes to give thanks to God for 25 years of ministry at the Church of the Assumption.

The ministry was first formed in 1992 by Fr Reginald Hezekiah (deceased), but this record is of the period 1995 to present, when the present leader, Gloria ‘Peggy’ Birmingham, was appointed by Fr Hezekiah. Soon after this appointment, Fr Hezekiah was appointed parish priest of the parish of St Charles Borromeo, Tunapuna, but he continued to be the Spiritual Director of the group.

The vision and mission of the group

St Dominic’s Home

The church lives to evangelise and as any evangelical group, we try to proclaim the Word Mark 16:16–20. Annually, we conduct a Life in the Spirit seminar as part of our outreach programme. Very early in our ministry, we were invited by Sr Francine OP, then manager of the St Dominic’s Home, to share the love and mercy of God with the young residents of the Home. Later she did the Life in the Spirit seminar with the youths.

The Lord honoured their faith and after being baptised in the Spirit, they, led by Sr Francine, continued as members of the prayer group.

Under the guidance of the then parish priest, Fr Garfield Rochard, the young St Dominic’s group became part of the Assumption group preparing for confirmation and were later confirmed there. Our ministry to the young people of St Dominic’s Home continued for about eight years in conjunction with our  beloved Sr Francine who laboured so faithfully with the St Dominic’s Home children.

Ministry to the Parish and Beyond

  • Inspired by Fr Rochard, we led crusades at Dundonald Hill, Dibe, Belvue, La Sieva, Toco/Matelot, Chatham and Tobago.
  • Members of the group also served on the Board of the Boissiere RC School under the chairmanship of the late Roderick Pillai, where we supported the administration and contributed financially and spiritually.
  • Before it was suspended in the parish, the group assisted and supported in the conduct of the RCIA programme under the guidance of Bernadette Price.
  • We contributed financially to the building of the Parish Centre by hosting a barbeque and submitted the proceeds amounting to $67,000 to the project.
  • At the request of the St Ann’s Confirmation class, we organised and conducted several Life in the Spirit seminars for the class.
  • For several years, we partnered with Rainbow Rescue in ministering to young men, many of whom were separated from their families.
  • In company with Fr Reggie, we joined his ministry at the Corpus Christi L’Hospice and were blessed to be part of the ministry.
  • Fr Rochard appointed a few the leaders of our group to serve as Lay Ministers to the Parish community. They were Edwin Blanc, Peter St Hilaire, Len Stephen, Gloria Birmingham, and Leslie Weekes.
  • The group had many retreats to Emmaus Centre, Mt St Benedict, Trinity House, and Green Meadows.
  • Pilgrimages took place to holy places abroad led by various priests including Fr Hezekiah, Fr Alan Hall, and Fr Leslie Tang Kai. A tree was planted by the group in Jerusalem, in honour of the service of Fr Hezekiah to the Archdiocese of Port of Spain and the Assumption Prayer group.
  • Every first Friday of the month for many years, the prayer group held all-night vigils at our parish hall.

Social Events

Our prayer group has hosted social events including:

  • Tea party and fashion show on the grounds of the Assumption parish as well as an annual Christmas dinner.

We wish to thank God for the courage, wisdom, and strength which God gave us during our ministry, the challenges, and the blessings over these 25 years. It helped us to grow individually and as a group. We are grateful for the many persons who have supported and contributed to our ministry; may the Lord reward them richly.

We thank our Spiritual Director Fr David Khan, for his wisdom and sincere support and our present parish priest Fr Ashton Pierre CSSp, who is always there for us; may the Lord continue to bless him.

We thank the many priests who have responded generously over the years, when we needed to have the Sacrament of Confession administered to our Life in the Spirit Seminar participants, or to teach or minister healing to our meeting.

We also remember and pray a blessing on Carnetta Borrell and Edwin Blanc who were already mentioned and Michael and Margaret O’Brien, foundation members of our prayer group, who remain faithful to the ministry today.

May the Lord in His love continue to strengthen them in their journey of faith.  Thanks also to Ann Huggins and Lenora Stephen who began in 1995 and who have remained faithful to the Lord and His ministry. They are still in the vineyard loving the Lord; may God bless them abundantly for their tremendous support.

We continue to be grateful to God for our brother who served for 17 years in the group, Peter St Hilaire, now a seminarian for five years at the seminary of St John Vianney and the Ugandan Martyrs, Mt St Benedict.

Reverend Deacon Ferdinand and David Pollard, who was a member of our group for 12 years, now ministering at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, may God strengthen them in their walk with Him.

We also remember with great affection our past members who have migrated as well as those who have gone home to the Lord. Those who have died include Theresa Gobin and Marcia Laurayne; may their souls rest in peace and may God remember them in His mercy.

To God be the glory great things He has done.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the group’s weekly Thursday meetings, 7–9 p.m. are suspended.